The 9.9 percent food inflation rate of 2022 will be followed by a 7.1 percent rate this year, the highest rates in three decades, said USDA economists on Wednesday. Egg prices were forecast to rise 27 percent this year, on top of a 32 percent increase in 2022.
Wholesale egg prices are down more than $1 a dozen since hitting a record daily average price of $5.40 a dozen in the week before Christmas, said USDA economists in the monthly Livestock, Dairy and Poultry report.
Food inflation is down for the fourth month in a row, dipping to an annualized rate of 10.4 percent, aided by beef prices that are lower than a year ago, said the Labor Department on Thursday. President Biden said the 0.3 percent increase in food prices during December was the smallest in almost two years.
Egg prices at the grocery store were elevated throughout 2022 due to outbreaks of highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) among egg-laying hens, said USDA economists. “Lower-than-usual shell egg inventories near the end of the year, combined with increased demand stemming from the holiday baking season, resulted in several successive weeks of record-high egg prices."
A record 50.54 million birds in domestic flocks have died of highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI), or were culled to prevent spread of the viral disease since February, according to USDA data.
After a summertime lull, bird flu is back in the Midwest, the heart of U.S. egg and turkey production, with outbreaks at commercial poultry farms in Minnesota and Ohio since Sept. 1. Some 43.85 million birds have been culled this year due to highly pathogenic avian influenza, and one analyst says turkey and egg prices may remain elevated for some time to come.
Higher consumer demand and lower supplies are driving up pork and egg prices, but after increasing for six months in a row, the U.S. food inflation rate for 2022 is unchanged this month, said the USDA on Thursday.
Bird flu outbreaks are driving up egg and poultry meat prices far faster than usual, with eggs expected to cost 20 percent more and poultry 9 percent more this year than their 2021 averages, said the Agriculture Department on Wednesday.
In less than three months, highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) has killed more than 31 million birds, mostly chickens and turkeys, in domestic flocks from the Atlantic coast into the Rockies, according to USDA data released Sunday. Officials said bird flu was identified on two additional egg farms in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, with a combined 2 million hens.
Laboratory tests confirmed highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) in three additional states, Pennsylvania, Idaho and Utah, with losses in domestic flocks nearing 27.4 million birds, said the Agriculture Department. The first outbreak in Pennsylvania, at an egg farm in Lancaster County, was announced two days after the state banned poultry shows at county and local fairs for 60 days.
Nearly 5 percent of the egg-laying hens in the United States have died in outbreaks of highly pathogenic avian influenza in the past six weeks, said USDA data on Wednesday. Egg prices were rising faster than the overall rate of food inflation, though there was an ample supply ahead of Easter and Passover.
In three weeks, outbreaks of highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) have killed more than 4 percent of the egg-laying chickens in America. "Egg availability may be limited leading into Easter," traditionally a high-demand period for eggs, said analysts at rural lender CoBank.
For the first time, highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) was confirmed in Minnesota, the top turkey-producing state in the nation, said agricultural officials over the weekend. Some 14.6 million birds in domestic flocks have died of HPAI or in culling of infected herds to reduce the spread of the viral disease this year.
Highly pathogenic avian influenza was identified in three more states — Missouri, Maryland and South Dakota — said the Agriculture Department. Since the first case was confirmed on Feb. 8 on a turkey farm in southern Indiana, HPAI has been found in 21 domestic flocks in 12 states.
The Agriculture Department confirmed outbreaks of highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAi) in adjoining Ulster and Dutchess counties in upstate New York, about 80 miles north of New York City along the Hudson River. The USDA has confirmed 12 other cases, all in the eastern half of the nation, since Feb. 8.
More than three years ago, California voters approved Proposition 12, guaranteeing sows, veal calves and egg-laying hens more room to move about and barring the sale of eggs, veal and pork from farms, even in other states, that do not comply with the new standards. The law went into effect on Sunday, although state officials were still working on a final set of regulations.(No paywall)
California's Prop 12, which prohibits the sale of eggs in the state from chickens housed in battery cages, along with the arrival of the first viable egg substitutes, amounts to a one-two punch that could mark the beginning of the end of the industrial egg, writes Rowan Jacobsen in FERN's latest story, published with New Food Economy. (No paywall)
Canadian officials say prospects of agreement on a new NAFTA by the end of the year are fading in the face of unacceptable U.S. demands, reports Canadian Press, with some analysts questioning if the true U.S. goal is a breakdown in negotiations. The chief U.S. negotiator told Bloomberg, "We made a request of Canada for improved access for dairy, poultry and eggs" over the weekend, the first time agricultural trade was discussed at the talks.